Over the past few weeks, Qatar has been in the news as a key player in the crisis that erupted following the heinous terrorist massacre perpetrated by Hamas in southern Israel on Oct. 7. It turns out that Qatar actively funds Hamas, hosts Hamas’ political leaders and headquarters in Doha, and is in regular touch with the Hamas leadership in Gaza — all of which resulted in the Qataris acting as mediators for the hostage release negotiations.
But notwithstanding Qatar’s role in helping to get Israeli and international hostages out of Hamas-ruled Gaza — which, remarkably, has already resulted in Qatar being thanked by US President Joe Biden — the question gaining traction in Washington and around the world is this: How exactly has Qatar been allowed to fund terrorists and support terror for so many years while still maintaining diplomatic, economic, and military ties with the West?
The answer will amaze and horrify you in equal measure. This week marked the first anniversary of the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The FIFA World Cup’s global appeal is vast, drawing billions of viewers. Held every four years, the tournament attracts extensive media coverage, engaging with a huge international audience which includes people who don’t typically follow soccer.
Aside from the TV audiences, millions of soccer fans fly from all over the world to see their country play “the beautiful game” in huge soccer stadiums, and the 2022 World Cup was no exception. A staggering 3.4 million spectators were there to participate in the tournament, and the 172 goals scored over four weeks of games ensured that Qatar 2022 became the highest scoring FIFA World Cup in history.
But, as was revealed before the tournament — and has also emerged in far greater detail since the tournament ended — the details of Qatar’s outlook and behavior vis-à-vis the World Cup paint a sobering picture of this tiny but powerful country — a picture that is marred by allegations of wanton bribery to ensure they were awarded hosting rights, as well as deliberate deception in environmental commitments once they were confirmed as hosts.
In particular, the stark contrast between Qatar’s proclaimed “carbon-neutral” World Cup and the reality of its execution underscores a narrative of calculated misrepresentation. And yet, by and large Qatar has gotten away with its brazen criminality and deceptions. EU officials were allegedly bribed by Qatar, World Cup host rivals were reportedly targeted by “black ops” and hacking operations, and thousands of slaves – yes, slaves! – died in the construction of the soccer stadium complex in Doha.
But in the end, despite concerns about how Qatar became hosts of this international sports behemoth, and regardless of concerns about how it misled the world regarding the event’s staggering environmental footprint, Qatar’s immense wealth has ensured that this corrupt country has got nothing to worry about and is able to navigate the global stage with impunity.
It really is that simple. Qatar’s vast financial resources play a pivotal role in shaping international perceptions of and responses to this criminal, terrorist-sponsoring state. The country’s infiltration of the global economy and strategic funding of NGOs and elite educational institutions has meant that it virtually controls the narrative on multiple fronts, and always to the advantage of evil. Only now, since Oct. 7, is there is a growing discourse around how Qatar’s substantial economic power has been leveraged to gloss over contentious issues. But so far, nothing has changed. This unacceptable situation raises critical questions about the dynamics of power and money in international relations, especially in contexts where significant global interests and reputations are at stake.
The Qatar World Cup saga is an egregious but somewhat innocuous example of the challenges in holding wealthy and powerful nations accountable. But Qatar’s role in funding Hamas — and therefore the Oct. 7 massacre — has brought the role of this bad actor under the spotlight, resulting in a significant paradigm shift. Finally, policymakers in the Western world are beginning to reexamine how these masters of deception have managed to bamboozle the world for decades, even as their limitless money funds murder, chaos, and mayhem.
Shockingly, the deception goes on. The public face of Qatar as the honorable intermediary between evil Hamas murderers and the aggrieved State of Israel belies the fact that Qatar is ruled with an iron fist by one tiny family of antisemitic thugs — the Al Thani family, one of whose most senior members, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani, told a newspaper, “Imagine oil [was sold] by some Jews … what would be the price of a barrel of oil? It would be the most expensive thing in the world.”
And this week I heard from someone who maintained close ties with the Al Thanis over several years, that they told him, “We are not bigots, except when it comes to Jews — we can’t stand the Jews.” So, are these the “honest brokers” for the current crisis — as was claimed by another member of the Al Thani family, Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the United States?
It is clear that Qatar, for all its polished sophistication and attempts to bamboozle the West to think its leaders are merely useful intermediaries with the world’s worst undesirables, is in fact as evil as those it funds. Qatar, and in particular the Al Thani family who have presided over this tiny country for decades, cannot claim innocence. Their hands are elbow-deep in the blood of the innocents murdered on Oct. 7. Every hostage still in captivity in Gaza is the direct result of Qatar’s nefarious love affair with the violent brutes who control Gaza.
After Oct. 7 there’s no longer any excuse for anyone to look the other way. Qatar must be sanctioned, its Western assets must be frozen or confiscated, and its leaders must be arrested for aiding and abetting terrorists — and for crimes against humanity. Otherwise, the world will have allowed Qatar’s leaders to get away with murder.
The post Qatar Can’t Be Allowed to Get Away With Murder After Oct. 7 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Top IDF Brass Blindsided by UNRWA Fallout
i24 News – Senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) command was caught off guard by the speed with which the allegations implicating UNRWA staffers in the October 7 atrocities became public knowledge, according to a New York Times report published Saturday.
When, on January 18, UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini sat down with senior Israeli diplomat Amir Weissbrod in Tel Aviv for a routine meeting, the UN official was supplied with intelligence about the agency employees’ involvement in the massacre.
While the intelligence was provided by the IDF, the military establishment didn’t expect the explosive information to leak into the public domain. It emerged that Lazzarini relayed the allegations to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and began firing employees, eventually reporting the developments to U.S. officials.
Unnamed IDF officials cited in the NYT report were concerned that the allegations had been disseminated without Israel having devised a proper strategy for the fallout.
European countries, from the UK to Germany, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia all froze funding to UNRWA amid reviews in the aid agency and its employees.
While some have pushed for a complete shutdown of the agency, including U.S. lawmakers and Israeli ministers, others — including unnamed senior IDF officials — have said that it was inadvisable to do so during the war when UNRWA was providing needed humanitarian aid.
Hamas Turns Down Hostage Deal, Demands Israel Release More Terrorists
i24 News – Hamas on Sunday said it rejected the proposed hostage deal formulated in Paris, demanding that Israel release more Palestinian terrorists locked up in Israeli jails, according to a Saudi outlet.
There are 136 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian jihadists, abducted during the October 7 incursion and massacre.
The statement comes hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated Israel had “red lines” which could not be crossed.
Thus, the leader said, Israel will not end the war until all its goals are met, namely “the eradication of Hamas, the rescue of all our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will never again pose a threat to Israel.”
“We will not agree to every deal, and not at any price,” he said, adding reports in the local media whereby Israel agreed to freeing large numbers of terrorists were not true.
The post Hamas Turns Down Hostage Deal, Demands Israel Release More Terrorists first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Dennis Ross Is Blaming Israel Again
JNS.org – Former U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross just can’t stop blaming Israel.
Speaking via Zoom for the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy on Jan. 31, Ross offered some expected, perfunctory criticism of Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah. But again and again, he managed to bring in one-sided and unfair criticism of Israel.
Referring to Israel’s counter-terrorism actions in Judea and Samaria, Ross said: “West Bank violence [by Arabs] is not disconnected from Israel’s policies in the West Bank.”
That’s just absurd. The terrorists are not responding to Israeli policies. They were murdering Jews long before there were any settlements or so-called occupied territories. They oppose Israel’s existence, not its borders. It’s these terrorists who are the aggressors, and Israelis must respond to them.
Regarding Gaza, Ross said: “The Israelis haven’t done everything they could to spare civilians in Gaza.” Is he kidding? The Israelis have refrained from striking terrorist targets where there are civilians. They have personally warned civilians to evacuate, again and again, through leaflets and phone calls and public announcements. They have risked the lives of their own soldiers by going house to house, instead of just bombing from the air. What else can they possibly do?
Ross also commented on the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice—the ruling that failed to condemn Hamas and demanded that Israel give more aid to Palestinians in Gaza. He said the ruling was “not irresponsible” and that it was provoked by “extreme statements by Israeli politicians.” That’s simply nonsense. The statement that the court cited most prominently was made by Israel’s left-leaning president, Isaac Herzog, who said that many ordinary Gazans supported the Hamas massacre, which was a perfectly reasonable statement of fact.
The practice of saying a few perfunctory crucial words about terrorists and then “balancing” it with criticism of Israel is typical of the grotesque “even-handedness” that Ross and his colleagues pushed during his many years at the U.S. State Department.
That approach was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. There can be no “balance” between good and evil. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are not on the same moral level. Israel is America’s loyal, reliable, democratic ally. The P.A. is a terror-sponsoring, hate-mongering dictatorship.
In recent months, Ross has been saying that Israel should allow the Hamas leadership to leave Gaza in exchange for the release of the remaining hostages. He points to Israel’s decision in 1982, under U.S. pressure, to allow PLO chief Yasser Arafat and thousands of PLO terrorists to leave besieged Beirut.
But Ross never mentions what happened after Arafat left. He didn’t retire. He set up PLO terrorist headquarters in Tunisia, and then 20 additional years of terrorism followed—suicide bombings, intifadas, mass shootings, stabbings. Ross’s new plan would have the same result.
This is the same Dennis Ross who has acknowledged—on the op-ed page of The Washington Post in 2014—that he pressured Israel to allow Hamas to import concrete. Ross wrote that the Israelis opposed his demand because they feared that Hamas would use the cement to build terror tunnels. Ross insisted the concrete would be used to build houses, and because of his pressure, the Israelis gave in. We all know the result.
In his Zoom talk this week, Ross had the chutzpah to mention that Hamas used imported cement to build tunnels instead of homes, though never mentioned that he was the one who helped them to get that cement into Gaza in the first place.
Ross is frequently quoted in The New York Times and invited to appear on television shows and webinars. He’s treated as if his past involvement in Mideast diplomacy makes him an expert on how to make peace today. Yet every one of those diplomatic efforts failed. He has never facilitated real peace because he continues to pretend that both sides are to blame for the absence of peace.
The Jewish world is full of talented speakers, thinkers and writers. Surely, our institutions should be able to find more thoughtful lecturers than those same tired, old critics of Israel with their familiar and disastrous proposals.